Top 10 Gems From Nordic Literature For Your Must-Read List

Waquar Habib


"Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson

Based in the easternmost region of Norway, "Out Stealing Horses" is a richly acclaimed Norwegian novel from 2003. It is a psychological fiction that unfolds along the intricacies of Norwegian life.

Out Stealing Horses | Picador

"Summer Light: A Walk Across Norway" by Andrew Stevenson

The book is a memoir telling of the author's experiences travelling across Norway. It describes his journey walking and cycling from the eastern capital Oslo to Bergen on the west coast.

Summer Light: A Walk Across Norway | Hachette Australia


"Stolen" by Ann-Helén Laestadius

Awarded Sweden’s Book of the Year, "Stolen" is a coming-of-age story based on real events that bring forth snow-filled landscapes, indigenous minorities and reindeer.

Stolen | Scribner

"Nordic Ways" by Debra Cagan

An anthology of essays written by distinguished authors from Scandinavian countries representing a broad spectrum of Nordic life. It describes life in the North from different perspectives.

Nordic Ways | Centre for Transatlantic Relations: Johns Hopkins University


"The Year of living Danishly" by Helen Russell

In this humorous novel, the author moves from London to rural Jutland, Denmark, for her husband's Lego job, seeking to understand why Denmark is the world's happiest country as they start their adventure in January.

The Year of living Danishly | Icon Books

"Just As Well I’m Leaving" by Michael Booth

This humorous travelogue recounts the 19th-century adventures of Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark's beloved author, although it is not exclusively about travel in Scandinavia.

Just As Well I'm Leaving | Vintage Digital


"House of Orphans" by Helen Dunmore

A rich historical novel that portrays early 20th-century Finnish rural life, class divisions, the workers' movement, and nationalism, all seen through relatable characters. It delves into Finland's history with Russia.

House of Orphans | Fig Tree

"Palace of the Snow Queen" by Barbara Sjoholm

An exploration of the winter wonders and entangled histories of Scandinavia’s northernmost landscapes. It details the building of snow hotels and pays a visit to Inari’s film festival.

Palace of the Snow Queen | Counterpoint


"Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland" by Sarah Moss

Sarah Moss, an author and university teacher, shares her experience in "Names for the Sea". She accepts a job at the University of Reykjavik and moves with her husband and two young sons to the Icelandic capital for a year.

Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland | Counterpoint

"Independent People" by Laxness

Written by Halldór Laxness, an Icelandic writer and winner of the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature, this gritty glimpse of the Icelandic soul is humorous, heart-breaking, and deep-minded work. "Independent People" is an absolute must read.

Independent People | Vintage